Romanian prisoner complains under ECHR about refusal to allow same-sex conjugal visit in prison

The Fourth Section of the European Court of Human Rights has communicated a case brought by Mihai Klepper Duţă which concerns alleged discrimination against him, on the grounds of sexual orientation, whilst he was in prison. 

The facts

Mr Duţă's complaint concerns the refusal of the management of Jilava prison to allow him conjugal visits with his same-sex partner. 

Mr Duţă claims that he was refused permission for conjugal visits for more than seven months, starting from the date of his first request in September 2014 until his parole in April 2015. 

This, claims Mr Duţă, was discriminatory because prisoners enjoy, without restriction, different-sex conjugal visits (pursuant to Article 69 of Law 254/2013, on the enforcement of sentences and custodial measures). 

By a final judgment of 22 December 2014, the Bucharest Court of First Instance ordered the prison authorities to grant Mr Duţă permission to have conjugal visits but the prison authorities refused to comply. 

The complaint

Mr Duţă complains that his treatment by the prison authorities amounts to a violation of his right to respect for his private life (Article 8 of the Convention) and his right not to suffer discrimination (Article 14 of the Convention).

Questions to the parties

The Court has asked the parties the following questions:
  1. Has Mr Duţă's right to respect for his private life, within the meaning of Article 8 of the Convention, been violated by the refusal to grant his requests for conjugal visits with his same-sex partner? 
  2. Does the refusal disclose a distinction based on sexual orientation in Mr Duţă's exercise of his right to respect for private life, contrary to Article 14 of the Convention? In particular, is there a difference in treatment to other persons in comparable situations? If so, does this difference pursue a legitimate aim and is there a reasonable relationship of proportionality between the means employed and the aim pursued?